Musicians are a unique group of people when it comes to addiction. When you break down the average musician’s psychology, you find that they are an energetic collision between intellect and emotion. Their intellect gives them their mastery of reading and playing music, and their emotion gives them the inspiration and the need to have music in their lives. When you apply this psychology to addiction, you can see why the musician’s brain is frequently an addict’s brain also.
It is no doubt that musicians are intelligent people. Playing music has been described as the activity that uses more of the human brain at once than any other known activity. Intelligence is both a tool and a hindrance to a musician who is struggling with addiction. Obviously, exercising good intellect and logic over addiction is part of recovering from it. But when intelligent people are addicted, they sometimes experience a phenomenon of justifying their behavior through their intellect. Their perspective is so well reasoned and thought through that they have themselves convinced of their own sound judgment. Critical thinking about your own thought patterns is critical in addiction, and someone as intelligent as an avid musician certainly has the capacity to do so.
The emotions of a musician are complex indeed. Musicians are not known for having the best handle on their emotions, but they certainly do not have any shortage of them. Frequently, emotional difficulty plays a big part in why a musician becomes addicted. Musicians often have emotions that are bigger than their coping abilities due to emotional scarring, and music becomes for them a means of expressing themselves. It is often said that when emotions are too big for words, they come out in the form of music, and this is certainly true for musicians. Therefore, music and addiction both are essentially means of coping with emotion. One is a higher calling, and one is a lower calling. Conisdering this can be used in addiction treatment by remembering that a musician’s passion for music is capable of bringing them back from addiction.